Two years ago, actor Adam Goldberg sat around with his girlfriend brainstorming what the next new big social media thing would be. Already a man of Tumblr and Twitter (and hesitantly of Instagram), he thought he had it: “It’s sound. It’s got to be sound.”But unless you count the collective groans of boyfriends around the world when Pinterest caught fire, Goldberg was wrong. The next big thing, two years later, is video. More accurately, it’s Vine, an iOS app allowing you to capture six looping seconds with a stop-action camera, helmed by Twitter. Less than two weeks old, the app has seen a deluge of early adopters (and a lot of porn buzz), but what might be the most interesting thing about Vine is that it’s already been won.
Adam Goldberg already somehow owns Vine. His twisted, twitchy feed is downright addictive with videos so dark and mesmerizing they could be spliced right into an American Horror Story credit opening and stand out. Goldberg plays himself—or a version of himself—where he’s a stalking, wig-wearing, cross-dressing, agitated, obsessive-compulsive maniac whose jittery antics trouble his girlfriend Roxanne and her friend Merritt. It’s very meta, where his characters talk about the app itself, and how Goldberg has gone down the wrong rabbit hole with it.
Everything's just Vine. vine.co/v/bJl2qve9iw6— Adam Goldberg (@TheAdamGoldberg) January 31, 2013
Merritt's Departure. vine.co/v/b1q2xaX9wxJ— Adam Goldberg (@TheAdamGoldberg) February 1, 2013
Wigging. vine.co/v/b1euF9zDz7p— Adam Goldberg (@TheAdamGoldberg) February 1, 2013
I Need to Talk to You: Part i. vine.co/v/b1vOlmwimuP— Adam Goldberg (@TheAdamGoldberg) February 2, 2013
I slept Vine last night. vine.co/v/b1p5dI3emp6— Adam Goldberg (@TheAdamGoldberg) February 2, 2013
“It was so obvious to me what it was for,” Goldberg says after messing with Vine for a few days. “It’s a horror app. When you break it down, with its stop-action camera and everything, it’s just perfect for these little horror movies.”
His theme, he says, revolves around the home not always being the safest place to be. And his little soap opera—about a man becoming undone by an iPhone application—plays it up perfectly. There are jump cuts from behind bushes. Disembodied hands holding an SLR camera. Long dark hallways. Self-rocking chairs. And then there are the blond wigs. In over half the videos, Goldberg struggles with wearing—or not wearing—a crazy blond wig like a tweaker pacing the cold medicine aisle.
“The funny thing about those wigs is that I don’t remember where they came from, if they’re mine or my girlfriend’s,” Goldberg confesses. “But I’ve had a blond wig in my life for as long as I can remember. From my teenage years until now. When I was 24, my entire fridge was covered in polaroids with people wearing a blond wig. I don’t know.”
Goldberg laughs humbly about his Vine feed getting so much early attention. “Why do people give a shit about these six-second videos, you know? The other films I’ve made over the years are basically 45-minute Vines, and no one ever gave a shit. My girlfriend and I have been talking about this Vine stuff and trying to break down the excitement over my videos, but I don’t know. Maybe it's because we have such short attention spans that six seconds works?”
The app, however, is far from perfect. In fact, it’s downright buggy. It eats up your battery. It crashes often. Your videos get lost or never post. Your feed won’t refresh. Or, worst of all, you just can’t fit your brilliant idea into six seconds. It’s a test of patience and will. “My hope for it is that it stays pretty crude,” Goldberg says. “Like Orson Welles said, ‘The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.’ I hope the Vine people don’t cave to demands for filters and stuff. The cruder, more stripped down, the better.”
And his videos keep getting better. What Kelly Oxford and Rob Delaney are to Twitter, Adam Goldberg is to Vine, becoming the feed to watch. The app is built just quirky enough to support his manic compulsion to be creative.
He's going to be a father very soon. Like, in a manner of weeks. Will he Vine the birth? Will the baby wear a blond wig in its first seconds of life? “I’m such a documenter and a hoarder of media,” Goldberg says. “I mean, I’ve saved every answering machine message I’ve received since 1989. But with the birth, I don’t know. No. I’m going to be pretty hands-on. But we did hire a doula with photography skills.”
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